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Flu epidemic sweeps nation

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According to the Centers for Disease Control, during week seven of the flu season (February 10 - 16, 2008), influenza activity continued to increase in the United States.

  • Two thousand three hundred forty (34.0%) specimens tested by U.S. World Health Organization (WHO) and National Respiratory and Enteric Virus Surveillance System (NREVSS) collaborating laboratories were positive for influenza.
  • The proportion of deaths attributed to pneumonia and influenza was above the epidemic threshold for the sixth consecutive week.
  • The proportion of outpatient visits for influenza-like illness (ILI) and acute respiratory illness (ARI) was above national baseline levels. ILI increased in six of the nine regions compared to week 6, and was above region-specific baselines in all nine regions. All nine regions reported ARI at or above their region specific baselines.
  • Forty-nine states reported widespread influenza activity; one state reported regional influenza activity; and the District of Columbia reported local influenza activity.

What is the flu?

Influenza and Respiratory Virus Information and Prevention

Influenza, "the flu," is caused by a virus that affects the nose, throat, airways, and lungs. Influenza A or B may circulate in the United States during late fall and winter.  One of the most important ways to prevent influenza is to get the influenza vaccine.  The 2007-2008 influenza vaccine contains the following components: influenza A Solomon Islands H1N1-like virus, influenza A Wisconsin H3N2-like virus and B Malaysia-like virus.  Vaccination with the nasal-spray flue vaccine may be given to health persons aged 5-49 years who are not pregnant.  For more information on where you can get your influenza vaccine, please visit the Flu Clinic Locator or you may contact you local county health department.

Other actions you can take to reduce the spread of viral respiratory illness include using good hand hygiene, such as using an alcohol-based hand gel if hands are not visibly soiled and using proper cough etiquette such as covering your cough.  

Source: Centers for Disease Control, Oklahoma Department of Health

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